Tag Archives: HELCO

See Mina Morita’s Blog Post on NextEra Merger

Mina Morita is former chair of the Hawaii State Public Utilities Commision. At her Energy Dynamics blog, she wrote the post Let the Consumer Advocate & PUC Do Their Jobs!

I generally agree with what she writes. Referring to a wave of politicians who want to explore a public utility option instead of the proposed NextEra/HEI merger, she writes:

During this time of transformation a well-functioning electric utility requires insightful leadership, nimble and flexible strategic planning and strong analytical capacity. 

That is exactly why a group of community leaders and business persons formed the Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative. When the proposed NextEra/HEI merger was announced late last year, we arranged for a briefing by the KIUC folks. It looked very promising, so we formed a steering committee.  At that time, though, there wasn’t a willing seller so we waited to see if there would be an opportunity down the road.

The other day I spoke as part of a League of Women Voters forum. I told the moderator, Pearl Johnson, that we decided to use the Wayne Gretsky strategy. Gretsky said to skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it is. That’s an example of insightful leadership. We decided to prepare a co-op option in case an opportunity arose. If we had waited to start when an opportunity came up, it would have been too late.

The co-op model allows for nimble and flexible strategic planning. I told Pearl Johnson that it isn’t the strongest, largest or smartest that survives, it’s the one that can adapt to change.

A board of directors directs a co-op model. In the case of Kaua‘i’s co-op, nine members sit on the board. The terms are staggered and every year three positions become vacant, which allows the co-op to quickly respond to changes. It is especially important now because declining natural resources require us to be nimble, flexible and strategic, as Mina points out.

What we should consider is which business model will give the next generations tools they need to cope in an uncertain future.

There are many qualified people the board can hire to help with technical analyses.

The HIEC is not opposing the NextEra/HEI merger. What we are doing is positioning ourselves to be a viable option.

The Big Island has a huge advantage in working to achieve 100 percent renewable energy. We already have 40 percent renewables, and HELCO itself projects 92 percent renewables by 2030. It appears that we could probably avoid LNG entirely.

When I visited Iceland several years ago, they showed us an oil-fired plant that had been on standby since the 1970s. We could do that, too. I don’t see many opportunity costs foregone. If we change nothing at all, the co-op model would still have the advantage of some tax savings.

If we are successful in acquiring HELCO, we will need legislators to work with us to make legislation that will encourage the usage of “curtailed” (thrown away) power.

As we move toward the future of 100 percent renewable energy, we must remember that this is about all of us, not just a few of us. The co-op has an incentive to lower costs.

So yes, we do agree with Mina. We’re waiting.

Facebooktwittermail

Cheaper Electricity: The Need Hasn’t Changed

Every so often I’m going to repost something here that I feel is still significant.

This article, which I submitted to the Big Island Chronicle and ran in April 2014, talks about some of the important principles behind why we formed the Big Island Community Coalition. It still applies.

***

A Call For Cheaper Electricity

Here is the single most important need facing Hawai‘i today. Everything else radiates from it:

We need cheaper electricity.

It can be done. Recently the Big Island Community Coalition, along with others, helped stop some fairly significant electricity rate hikes from showing up on everybody’s HELCO bills.

And we are very lucky to have resources here, such as geothermal energy, that we can use to generate much cheaper electricity.

Here’s why this is so important:

• We need enough food to eat, and we need to grow it here, instead of relying on it coming to us from somewhere else.

Food security – having enough food to eat, right here where we live – is truly the bottom line. We live in the middle of an ocean, we import more than 80 percent of what we eat, and sometimes there are natural or other disasters and shipping disruptions. This makes a lot of us a little nervous.

• To grow our food here, we need for our farmers to make a decent living: “If the farmers make money, the farmers will farm.”

The price of oil, and of petroleum byproducts like fertilizers and many other farming products, keeps going up, which raises farmers’ costs. They cannot pass on all these higher costs, and they lose money.

We use oil for 70 percent of our electricity here in Hawai‘i, whereas on the mainland they use oil for only 2 percent of theirs—so when the cost of oil increases, anything here that requires electricity to produce is less competitive. And farmers in Hawai‘i also pay four times as much for electricity as do their mainland competition, which puts them at an even bigger competitive disadvantage. Fewer young people are going into farming and this will impact our food security even further.

HELCO needs to be a major driver in reducing the cost of electricity. We believe that HELCO is fully capable of providing us with reliable and less costly electrical power, and ask that the PUC reviews its directives to and agreements with HELCO. Its directives should now be that HELCO’s primary objective should be making significant reductions in the real cost of reliable electric power to Hawai‘i Island residents.

At the same time, we ask that HELCO be given the power to break out of its current planning mode in order to find the most practicable means of achieving this end. We will support a long-range plan that realistically drives down our prices to ensure the viability of our local businesses and the survivability of our families. All considerations should be on the table, including power sources (i.e., oil, natural gas, geothermal, solar, biomass, etc.), changes in transmission policy including standby charges, and retaining currently operating power plants.

This is not “us” vs. “them.” We are all responsible for creating the political will to get it done.

Rising electricity costs act like a giant regressive tax: the people on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder get hurt first, and hardest. If our energy costs are lower – and we can absolutely make that happen – our farmers can keep their prices down, food will be cheaper, and consumers will have more money left over at the end of the month. This is good for our people, and for our economy.

We have good resources here and we need to maximize them. Geothermal and other options for cheaper for energy. We also have the University of Hawai‘i, the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, the Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center and others that help our farmers.

To learn more about achieving cheaper electricity rates, consider joining the Big Island Community Coalition (bigislandcommunitycoalition.org; there’s no cost). We send out an occasional email with information on what we’re doing to get electricity costs down, and how people can help.

Remember the bottom line: every one of us needs to call for cheaper electricity, and this will directly and positively impact our food security.

Facebooktwittermail

An Interview & Also a Visit to a Co-op Finance Corporation

Richard Ha writes:

Henry Curtis of Ililani Media recently interviewed me about the energy co-op. He asked me, “Why a co-op?”

Here’s the interview:

Richard Ha owns Hamakua Springs Country Farms, served as Board Chairman of Ku`oko`a Inc., the entity which sought to buy the HECO Companies, a member of the business-based Big Island Community Coalition (BICC) which seeks lower electric rates, and a partner in the Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative (HIEC) which was granted party status in the Public Utilities Commission’s HECO-NextEra's Merger proceeding. HIEC is represented in the docket by three McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon LLP attorneys: David Minkin, Brian Hirai and Peter Hamasaki….

Read the rest

Also, a couple weeks ago I visited the national headquarters of the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) in Virginia. There is a strong national association of 900 utility co-ops that exists to help its members, and it owns that finance company, the CFC, which has assets of $26 billion and is a non-profit, so it pays no taxes.

I met with the CFC's senior staff and briefed them about our attempt to be ready should an opportunity arise that allows us to present a credible offer to purchase Hawaii Electric Light (HELCO) and convert it to an energy cooperative.

They told me their resources are at our disposal.

It was very eye-opening to see that we are not alone. It hit me that ours would not be a small, stand-alone co-op, but one of 900 utility co-ops in the nation, with all the ancillary services that comes with that. The technical expertise we would be able to call upon is huge – exponentially greater than what we would have access to as a stand-alone co-op, out here in the middle of the Pacific.

Back on Dec 21st, I wrote about when a group of Big Island community people organized a briefing by David Bissell, the CEO of Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) and Dennis Esaki, one of the original founders of KIUC.

Subsequently, we formed a steering committee to investigate the possibility of creating an energy cooperative for the Big Island. That was three months ago. Since then, we registered the co-op, obtained the services of a law firm, and asked the PUC to let us participate in the docket involving the merger request of NextEra and HEI/HECO. Our request was approved.

We have set up a website with information about our efforts, the folks involved, a press release, news articles, and a place for folks to sign up if they want to help us in our efforts.

A co-op is about all of us, not just a few of us. It’s run by a board of directors that is elected by its members. Each member has one vote. Excess revenues are returned to the members in proportion to their usage. 

We are not alone. 

This morning I saw that State Rep. Nicole Lowen just introduced HR105 expressing support of "further discussion of the possibility of local ownership and control of electric utilities."

I will write more as we move forward.

Facebooktwittermail

‘Behind the Plug & Beyond the Barrel’

Richard Ha writes:

I spoke on behalf of the Big Island Community Coalition (BICC) at the Hawai‘i Island Renewable Energy Solutions Summit 2014 on April 30th, which was titled “Behind the Plug and Beyond the Barrel," and here's what I said: 

BICC mission

Good morning. Thanks for the introduction. I will use just this one slide, and you can read our mission statement on it, which is to lower the cost of electricity. “To make Big Island electricity rates the lowest in the state by emphasizing the use of local resources.”

I would like to spend some time talking about who makes up the BICC.

Dave DeLuz, Jr. – President of Big Island Toyota.

John Dill – Contractors Association, and Chair of the Ethics Commission

Rockne Freitas – Former Chancellor Hawai‘i Community College

Michelle Galimba – Rancher, Board of Agriculture

Richard Ha – Farmer

Wallace Ishibashi – Royal Order of Kamehameha, DHHL Commissioner

Kuulei Kealoha Cooper- Trustee, Jimmy Kealoha and Miulan Kealoha Trust.

Noe Kalipi – Former staffer for Sen Akaka, helped write the Akaka Bill, energy consultant

Kai'u Kimura- Executive Director of ‘Imiloa.

Bobby Lindsey – OHA Trustee

Monty Richards – Kahua Ranch

Marcia Sakai – Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs, former Dean of UH Hilo, College of Business

Bill Walter- President of Shipman, Ltd., which is the largest landowner in Puna.

These folks are all operating in their private capacities. I'm chair of the BICC, and the only person from Hawai‘i to have attended five Peak Oil conferences. I've visited Iceland and the Philippines with Mayor Kenoi's exploratory group.

As you can imagine, the BICC has strong support all across political parties and socioeconomic strata. People get it in five minutes.

Oil and gas are finite resources, and prices will rise.  One note about natural gas: the decline rate of the average gas well is very high. Ninety percent of the production comes out in five years. This is worrisome.

Hawai‘i Island relies on oil for sixty percent of its electricity generation; the U.S. mainland only two percent.

As the price of oil rises, our food manufacturers and producers become less competitive, as we all know. Food security involves farmers farming. And if the farmers make money, the farmers will farm.

What can we do?  By driving the cost of electricity down, the Big Island can have a competitive edge to the rest of the world.

Since rising electricity rates act like a giant regressive tax, lowering electricity rates would do just the opposite. And since two-thirds of the economy is made up of consumer spending, this would be like "trickle up" economics. If the rubbah slippah folks had extra money, they would spend and everyone would benefit.

 The lowest-hanging fruit:

1. Geothermal. Allows us to dodge the finite resource bullet. It is the lowest-cost base power. The Big Island will be over the hot spot for 500,000 to a million years.

2. We throw away many lots of MW of electricity every night. Hu Honua will probably throw away 10 MW for ten hours every night. PGV, maybe 7 MW for ten hours.

3. Wind, too.

Maybe HELCO will allow us to move the excess electricity free. They don't make any money on the throwaway power now, anyway. What if we used it for something that won't compete with them? Then people could bid for the excess, throwaway power for hydrogen fueling stations, to make ammonia fertilizer, and to attract data centers. Hawaii could become the renewable energy capital of the world. People would love to come here and look at that. As airline ticket costs rise, the walk around cost in Hawai‘i would not.

The BICC call for lowering electricity costs could leave future generations a better Hawai‘i.  And that is what we all want.

Facebooktwittermail

Response to Jack Roney’s Response

Richard Ha writes:

Jack Roney wrote an insightful and very well thought-out response to my BICC editorial Cheap Power for Hawaii Island, which ran in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald on April 13th.

We agree with Jack’s point, actually, that reliability should be the first priority of the electric utility. We just come at it in a slightly different way.

The Big Island Community Coalition (BICC) requires that renewable energy options be the best combination of the sustainability’s “triple bottom line:” They must be socially sustainable, environmentally sustainable and economically sustainable.

Presently, what does the best job of meeting the sustainability triple bottom line is the electrical grid. Specifically, it’s the most democratic way to deliver services that we have right now, and therefore it meets the socially sustainable requirement. (This doesn’t preclude something being developed in the future that better serves the sustainability triple bottom line.)

But more Hawaiians live outside of Hawai‘i now than in it, and rising electricity costs are going to cause more and more Hawaiians to leave the state and seek jobs so they are able to support their families. A condition that causes people of the host culture to leave their ancestral lands in greater and greater numbers is not sustainable.

In order for a renewable resource to replace a fossil fuel one, it must perform better on the triple bottom line assessment. It’s not only about the color of the oil – it’s about the cost, and the environmental and social impact of the alternative.

Solar is problematic, as Jack points out, from the standpoint of reliability. And folks who cannot leave the grid will find themselves increasingly paying more for the grid that those who can afford to leave will have left behind. That is not socially sustainable.

Geothermal electricity is by far the lowest cost and it’s available 24/7. It provides the same characteristics as oil but is environmentally friendly, and because of its low cost it’s more socially sustainable than oil. Fewer Hawaiians (and others) will have to leave Hawai‘i. And geothermal’s low stable cost, relative to petroleum oil, will make the Big Island relatively more competitive to the rest of the world regarding electricity. Geothermal satisfies the triple sustainability bottom line.

The PUC gave HELCO a 120-day deadline to explain how their recent 50MW request for geothermal proposals will result in lower costs to the ratepayer, and that deadline is up in a few days. HELCO will need to show a plan that retires oil-fired plants.

The BICC appreciates that the PUC, under Mina Morita’s leadership, has taken a view that ratepayer cost is a top priority. But this is not just a feel-good approach. The triple sustainability bottom line approach is a long term, pono, approach that does the right thing for us as well as future generations. It sets us up to be more competitive to the rest of the world.

Aloha, Jack Roney, for your well thought-out letter to the editor!

Facebooktwittermail

My Op-Ed: ‘We Need Cheaper Electricity’

Did you see the op-ed in yesterday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser? In case you didn’t, this is what I submitted to them:

***

We Need Cheaper Electricity

By Richard Ha

Here is the single most important need facing Hawai‘i today. Everything else radiates from it:

We need cheaper electricity.

It can be done. Recently the Big Island Community Coalition, along with others, helped stop some fairly significant electricity rate hikes from showing up on everybody’s HELCO bills.

And we are very lucky to have resources here, such as geothermal energy, that we can use to generate much cheaper electricity.

Here’s why this is so important:

• We need enough food to eat, and we need to grow it here, instead of relying on it coming to us from somewhere else.

Food security – having enough food to eat, right here where we live – is truly the bottom line. We live in the middle of an ocean, we import more than 80 percent of what we eat, and sometimes there are natural or other disasters and shipping disruptions. This makes a lot of us a little nervous.

• To grow our food here, we need for our farmers to make a decent living: “If the farmers make money, the farmers will farm.”

The price of oil, and of petroleum byproducts like fertilizers and many other farming products, keeps going up, which raises farmers’ costs. They cannot pass on all these higher costs, and they lose money.

We use oil for 70 percent of our electricity here in Hawai‘i, whereas on the mainland they use oil for only 2 percent of theirs—so when the cost of oil increases, anything here that requires electricity to produce is less competitive. And farmers in Hawai‘i also pay four times as much for electricity as do their mainland competition, which puts them at an even bigger competitive disadvantage. Fewer young people are going into farming and this will impact our food security even further.

HELCO needs to be a major driver in reducing the cost of electricity. We believe that HELCO is fully capable of providing us with reliable and less costly electrical power, and ask that the PUC reviews its directives to and agreements with HELCO. Its directives should now be that HELCO’s primary objective should be making significant reductions in the real cost of reliable electric power to Hawai‘i Island residents.

At the same time, we ask that HELCO be given the power to break out of its current planning mode in order to find the most practicable means of achieving this end. We will support a long-range plan that realistically drives down our prices to ensure the viability of our local businesses and the survivability of our families. All considerations should be on the table, including power sources (i.e., oil, natural gas, geothermal, solar, biomass, etc.), changes in transmission policy including standby charges, and retaining currently operating power plants.

This is not “us” vs. “them.” We are all responsible for creating the political will to get it done.

Rising electricity costs act like a giant regressive tax: the people on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder get hurt first, and hardest. If our energy costs are lower – and we can absolutely make that happen – our farmers can keep their prices down, food will be cheaper, and consumers will have more money left over at the end of the month. This is good for our people, and for our economy.

We have good resources here and we need to maximize them. Geothermal and other options for cheaper for energy. We also have the University of Hawai‘i, the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, the Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center and others that help our farmers.

To learn more about achieving cheaper electricity rates, consider joining the Big Island Community Coalition (bigislandcommunitycoalition.com; there’s no cost). We send out an occasional email with information on what we’re doing to get electricity costs down, and how people can help.

Remember the bottom line: every one of us needs to call for cheaper electricity, and this will directly and positively impact our food security.

Richard Ha is a farmer on the Big Island’s Hamakua coast, a member of the state’s Board of Agriculture, and chairman of the Big Island Community Coalition.

***

Facebooktwittermail

Subsidizing Electricity Bills

Richard Ha writes:
 
The Big Island Community Coalition is going to advocate that Hawai‘i County pay the electricity bills of people who choose to live in close proximity to any of the island's geothermal projects. 
 
It makes perfect sense that if we are going to use our geothermal resources to provide electricity for our island population, we also use some of it to benefit those who live nearby and have to deal with the inconvenience and noise.
 
Our proposal is that the County Council tap into funds that come from geothermal to cover the first 600kw of electricity for families, perhaps for those that live within the one-mail radius previously identified by the County (this is the area where they have offered to buy back homes). Six hundred kilowatts is the figure HELCO cites as an average monthly home usage. 
 
It would be a win for the people, and also for the County. Instead of buying homes, which would mean putting out $250,000 up front to buy back a home, the County would pay approximately $250/month or $3000/year. That original $250,000 would last about 80 years.
 
Everybody benefits.
Facebooktwittermail

Huffington & Omidyar Visit Hamakua Springs

By Leslie Lang, blog editor

Thursday was such an interesting day. Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, and Pierre Omidyar, founder of Honolulu’s online newspaper Civil Beat (and founder of eBay), spent some time at Hamakua Springs Country Farms.

The background is that Huffington Post and Civil Beat have teamed up to start HuffPost Hawaii (and they asked Richard to blog for the new online news organization. Here’s his first HuffPost Hawaii post, by the way.)

So this week, Arianna and Pierre were making the rounds in Hawai‘i for the big HuffPost Hawaii launch. They spent Thursday on the Big Island, where they were welcomed with a big reception at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center.

The only other Big Island stop they made was to Richard’s farm. They had asked if they could come and meet Richard and learn about what he’s doing. So that happened Thursday afternoon, and Richard invited me to join them there.

What a completely fascinating day. There’s something about being around really smart people who are doing big and really interesting things, making things happen and making a difference. Richard is completely like that, too, as you know if you’ve been reading this blog. It’s invigorating to be around that kind of energy.

Both Arianna and Pierre are very friendly and down-to-earth, and both are interested in issues of sustainability and what Richard is doing.

IMG_3566_2

Richard told them about his background — flunking out of college the first time around and ending up in Vietnam, coming back and trading manure from his father’s chicken farm for bananas to start what eventually became Hamakua Springs Country Farms — about seeing prices start rising, rising, rising and wondering why; about attending five Peak Oil conferences and starting to learn what was happening. He talked about how he forces the changes needed to get to where he needs to be five or 10 years in the future.

IMG_3568_2

He talked about the current threat to Big Island farming from anti-GMO bills, and Pierre asked some very salient (and polite) questions about some common GMO fears, such as of:

  • Commercial control of seeds. Richard replied that in many cases, such as with, for instance, the Rainbow papaya, virus-resistant seeds are developed by the university and not controlled by any big business at all. This, he said, is often the case.
  • Cross-pollination, or “pollen drift.” Richard responded that due to numerous studies, we know how much drift there is for different crops. Farmers work together, he says, to plan what is planted where, plant so many lines of “guard rows” and it’s completely manageable.

They asked about Richard’s new hydroelectric system, and we took a dusty, bumpy country road drive out to see where the water runs through an old sugar cane flume, and then through a turbine.

Car

IMG_3573_2

Arianna and Pierre were very interested in this, and in how, when the switch is thrown very shortly, the farm will be saving perhaps almost half of its monthly electric bill, which now averages $10-11,000.

IMG_3580

Pierre asked about returning excess power to the utility, and was shocked to learn that due to a technicality, Richard will not be paid for the power he feeds to HELCO. Pierre kept returning to that and said, more than once, “That’s just not right.” Richard finally replied, “Well, at least it’s not wasted.”

IMG_3584

Richard Ha, Arianna Huffington, Pierre Omidyar, Leslie Lang, June Ha

Richard talked about how they have converted the farm from growing mostly bananas to being a family of farms, which brings in local farmers who then have a close-to-home place to farm. This, in turn, means the farm produces a more diverse crop.

He told Arianna and Pierre about growing their current experiment growing tilapia, to learn how to add a protein component to the food they produce and also use the waste as fertilizer. Workers can fish for tilapia there and take some home for their families.

Arianna and Pierre both seemed sincerely interested. They paid close attention and asked good questions.

Richard told them about talking with Kumu Lehua Veincent, who was principal of Keaukaha Elementary School back in the early days of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) push. He told them that he asked Kumu Lehua, “What if we ask the TMT for five, full-ride scholarships to the best schools in the nation for your best students?” He told them that Kumu Lehua thought about it for a minute and then quietly asked, “And what about the rest?”

This was a turning point, explained Richard, who said that at the time he could feel his ears turning red. He told Arianna and Pierre that that phrase, What about the rest? gives him an “unfailing moral compass.”

It always brings him back to the rubbah slippah folk, he told them. The “rubbah slippah” folk are in contrast to the “shiny shoes” folk. When he explained this, Pierre looked down at his own shoes.

“I wore my shiny shoes today,” he said, “but I meant to change into my sneakers before coming to the farm.” He mentioned his shiny shoes a couple more times during the visit.

“I felt they absolutely got what I meant when I advocated for the ‘rubbah slippah’ folks,” Richard told me, “and completely support that idea.”

IMG_3567_2

Richard’s daughter Tracy had laid out a beautiful spread of Hamakua Springs produce back by the office, where there was a tent set up, and Arianna zeroed in on the longan.

“What’s this?” she said, and Tracy explained that it’s a delicious fruit. She handed one to Arianna, along with some wipes (they are juicy and messy), and Arianna loved it.

Arianna gives the impression of being very family-oriented. “At what point did you and June get married in this long process?” she asked, when Richard was explaining how he got started farming 35 years ago. (The answer: 32 years ago, and when June joined the family she took all the farm receipts out of a big banana box and straightened out the accounting.) Arianna asked Tracy if she had siblings. When she was introduced to Richard’s grandson Kapono, she looked at him, and at his parents, and asked, “Now, are you Tracy and Kimo’s son?” (Yes.)

She gave June a copy of her book, On Becoming Fearless.

IMG_3593

Both Arianna and Pierre are such interesting people. One of the things Richard talks about is forcing change, and that is something that both his guests are all about, too: Looking down the road and fixing things, forcing the change instead of letting things bumble along.

It is refreshing to be in the presence of such interesting thinkers and doers. Great day.

This is a video Civil Beat did with Richard recently, before Arianna and Pierre’s visit. It’s really nicely done and you get to hear a bit about some of the topics they discussed yesterday (while seeing gorgeous views of the farm).

Facebooktwittermail

Pacific Business News on Hamakua Springs Hydroelectric

Another article about the farm’s new hydroelectric system just ran in Pacific Business News.

Hawaii’s Hamakua Springs farm turns to hydroelectric power

Big Island businessman Richard Ha has converted his Hamakua Springs Country Farm operations on the Big Island to a hydroelectric project that will feed excess energy to Hawaii Electric Light Co. under an agreement being finalized. Read the rest
Facebooktwittermail

Connecting Our Hydro to the HELCO Grid

Richard Ha writes:

We just received approval to connect our hydro project to HELCO's grid. We could not be happier!

Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 8.11.37 AM

We still need to work out the technical details. Normally, the Standard Interconnect does not allow the export of power back to the utility grid.

But we are not trying to get paid for the extra power. We want to save money by avoiding having to pay for special equipment.

The flume runs day and night and will generate twice as much electricity as we use. We want to give the excess to the grid, free-of-charge. Otherwise, it will be wasted – poho.

This event, connecting to the grid, is as momentous as deciding to move our farm to Pepe‘ekeo was many years ago. Plantations were closing down all over the state, and there were many options as for location. We could have moved to Waialua on O‘ahu. It would have been close to the market – O‘ahu.

But we made our final decision based on water. At Pepe‘ekeo, there were three streams and three springs. The water was free and it was going to be free for as long as we could see. 

And now the free water will generate electricity!

Facebooktwittermail